Gazelles – seven orchestra poems

I. Moderato mosso II. Andante cantabile III. Lento e pesante IV. Leggiero V. Maestoso VI. Lento con sentimento VII. Moderato e maestoso


Composer Lucijan Marija Skerjanc is one of the key figures who shaped Slovene music of the 20th century. A whole series of Slovenia's most important composers emerged from his school. His own opus, which embraces practically the entire scope of musical genres, with the exception of opera, represents the very foundation of Slovene symphonic and concertante music. In his opus are united late romanticism, the impressionistic colouring of orchestral sound, as well as a newer music expression. In essence he was a lyrist, whose greatest creative work is found in his lieder, chamber music and piano compositions.


Gazele (Gazelles), seven orchestral poems, were written in 1950, on the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Slovene poet, France Preseren. The connection between these poems and Preseren's Gazele is only external, as Skerjanc himself explained: “In the form of these compositions I partly employed a similar motivic interweaving to that displayed by Gazele as a poetic form. The composition is an attempt at a new suite form, in which the motivic foundation is unified and the poems grow from common roots. As in Preseren, the theme of the gazelles is essentially common; thus the suite is an expression of my personal relationship to the content values of music, and to a certain extent also an expression of my aesthetic outlooks. In addition to the detail of the motivic interweaving, I also call the form 'gazelle' because it is not possible to classify in any of the traditional poetic forms with symmetrical construction.” As Slovenia's renowned musicologist, Andrej Rijavec, has determined, the movements that are most explicitly thematically connected are the first and the seventh, while their central motive is also present in the third and fifth movements. Between these movements with a broader melodic motion are inserted the second, fourth and sixth movements, all with a more emphasised harmonic character.


The work was first performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Samo Hubad on 22 January 1951.